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Nightly Grades: Spurs roll on as the Pacers fall deeper into misery

By Royce Young | NBA writer

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.



The Spurs set a new franchise record with their 18th straight win, and did it by completely shredding the Pacers. It was clinical, it was impressive. Not even a takedown from Lance Stephenson on Gregg Popovich could slow 'em down.


That was some kind of fourth quarter. The Bobcats were dead in the water, watching the Wizards rip off a big run before halftime that took a lead into double-figures.

But they hung in the game, outscoring the Wizards 56-34 in the second half as Kemba Walker had 21.


The Heat deserve a ton of credit. No Dwyane Wade, no Ray Allen, no Greg Oden, no Michael Beasley, no Shane Battier. And yet the Heat beat the quality Raptors, 93-83, as LeBron goes for 32-7-8.

The win puts the Heat in first place all by themselves for the first time this season, which is part kudos to the Heat, but more about the swoon the team they've been chasing is in.


When you're in the kind of battle the Grizzlies are in, needing every single result to stay in line for the postseason, going on the road and winning is a great thing.

Their 94-92 win over the Nuggets wasn't pretty throughout, but it was effective. Zach Randolph had 20 and 11 rebounds as Memphis had to hang on in the fourth to beat Denver.


With Blake Griffin sitting because of back spasms, it was Chris Paul's turn to shoulder responsibility and remind everyone that he's still really stinking good. Paul finished with 22 and nine assists, but it was Darren Collison (28 and seven assists) and DeAndre Jordan (11 and 24 rebounds) that did much of the work as the Clippers picked up a solid road win in Minnesota, 114-104.


Mike Woodson said this after the Knicks beat the Jazz 92-83, improving the Knicks to 3-2 on their Western road trip: "Can't get much better than that." This summarizes the Knicks' season nicely.

The win does keep them within a game of the Hawks, though. So they're still in this thing, which is something.

And this was a good play:


The Bulls beat the Celtics 94-80. The Celtics had only 10 points in the fourth quarter after the teams entered the final frame tied at 70. That was the game.


If the Pistons had lost back-to-back games to the 76ers and Bucks, forget their record -- they would've had to been considered the worst in the league. But they didn't, rallying to beat the Bucks 116-111. Your 2013-14 Pistons everybody!


The Hawks ended up getting the job done, beating the 76ers 103-95 as Paul Millsap had 28-17. But man, they trailed for a lot of the game and needed some big fourth quarter shot-making from Lou Williams to escape a catastrophic loss.


If the Kings beat the Pelicans on March 31 in New Orleans, does anyone hear it? Probably not, but DeMarcus Cousons had a big time game (35 and 14 rebounds), outplaying Anthony Davis.


Beating the Heat is hard to do and even with expectations raised for the Raptors because of their good season, you can't get too awful mad at this loss. What obviously has to frustrate them is that they're capable of playing better, with DeMar DeRozan leading them in points tonight with just 16. The real killer in this one: They only went to the free throw line 10 times, hitting five.


The Timberwolves are done playing for a postseason spot, but they do at least have a .500 season to play for. But their loss tonight drops them back under to 36-37. It's been a cruel season for the Wolves as close losses have doomed what could've been something good. Would like to see them finish on the plus side, just to have something to feel positive about.


Hey, it's only a one-game losing streak! In fact, that's not a losing streak at all. Yet.

Or think of it this way: They're playing .500 ball since March 29.


It's almost over, Jazz fans.


Something is so very, very wrong. Another night of anemic offensive basketball, another night of frustration and humiliation. The Pacers are spinning right now, and while we can all say they're going to get this figured out and they're going to come together, they've got to start doing things the right way in the next two weeks or they're going into the playoffs a complete mess.


The Wizards will be in the postseason, but they can't officially celebrate it for another few nights. With a chance to clinch the franchise's first playoff berth since 2008, the Wizards played an abysmal second half as the Bobcats closed a 16-point halftime gap.

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